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For all those that have questions about how much water we should be drinking, here's an article that does a good job of explaining things. It's from "Runner's World," which I consider a pretty reliable source for nutrition and exercise info.
Wed. Jan 11, 8:38am
Thanks! You read my mind - I was just wondering how much water I really needed!
Wednesday, January 11, 2006, 9:25 AM
Oh my gosh, thank you for this post. I have been commending myself on drinking 170 ounces every day. Triple of what my body needs!
Wednesday, January 11, 2006, 9:36 AM
I think setting an exact amount, one size fits all, is unnecessary (I have a PhD in physiology and have an interest in water and electrolyte balance). If your urine is light yellow or clear, you are taking in enough fluid. If it is dark, drink more. It doesn't matter what form the liquid is in, it counts. However, if you drink a lot of alcohol or caffeine, they are diuretics and may make your urine output artificially higher than your input and make the urine dilute, so you should be sure to drink some water. If you pinch the skin on the back of your hand and the fold stays in place, it may mean that you are dehyrated and you should drink some liquid. Drinking large quantities of water will give your mouth something to do and may help make you feel fuller, especially before a meal. So it doesn't hurt.(well, within reason, if you push gallons a day, then you could interfere with the kidney's concentrating ability temporarily) But you don't have to have 8 x 8 oz glasses a day, or 0.35 x body weight.... People who sweat a lot either due to exercise or a hot environment should force a certain intake because humans do not have a very good thirst sensor and can get into trouble. The wilderness docs have great success in telling their athletes to keep the urine light yellow or clear to ensure they won't get into trouble with dehydration and/ or heat stress. When we are doing a study on water intake in athletes, we can tell how much water they lost by weighing them before and after exercising (of course, we have more accurate scales than the commercially available ones). You don't lose weight in a matter of hours except for water loss (unless you have a b.m., of course).
Wednesday, January 11, 2006, 10:17 PM
I think a reason some people need a numerical target now is because there is a mind set with more than a few that whatever problem you have would not be a problem if you drank more water. I think this kind of thinking has probably caused a lot of the hyponatremia cases - people who are already in dilutional hyponatremia react to the symptoms by forcing more water and continuing the event, when common sense would say stop.
And quite apart from people like distance runners, I see many a reference to 64 or 80 or 100 or more ounces of water in ordinary folks' logs (of course often as a goal that they don't meet). I don't know if they heard somewhere that it causes or helps with weight loss, and I really don't know how to react.
Simpler guidelines would work fine for people who aren't so fixated - so far, they've always worked fine for me. To be fair, forcing weight loss (a goal of maybe 90% of people here) is itself counter-instinctive and I think it's hard to be easygoing about one thing (water) while being rather stressed about another (food). When I used to go running on hot days, I routinely weighed before and after, and maybe that helped me set appropriate expectations. Maybe more people should give that a try.
Thursday, January 12, 2006, 12:27 AM
Talking about hydration,
I finally realized recently that the skin on my hands is a good indicator--especially in the winter time... Sometimes my skin gets so dry that I scratch it like crazy (almost to the point of bleeding). One day, when this happened, I drank a few cups of water.. within an hour or so, the itching stopped and my skin LOOKed much better! So, I've started to keep an eye on how my skin looks and feels-- if it starts to look dry (especially in the cold of winter), I rehydrate!
Friday, January 13, 2006, 9:50 AM
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